The Federal Government’s proposed Transition to Work service to tackle youth unemployment is a positive move according to the state’s peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber.
“Youth unemployment is a national challenge that requires a much greater level of co-operation between governments, employers, unions, training providers and service deliverers,” said NSW Business Chamber CEO, Stephen Cartwright.
“I’m very pleased to see the Federal Government specifically focus on youth unemployment, especially in regional areas across Australia, where job options are often limited.
“The introduction of a dedicated youth employment service is a move in the right direction. Existing employment services have not adequately addressed the needs of young job seekers. The provision of intensive, pre-employment support to improve the work readiness of young people and to help them into work (including apprenticeships or traineeships) or education is strongly supported by the Chamber.
“Those that leave school early are clearly most at risk of staying on the long term unemployed list unless there are incentives for businesses to give them an opportunity.
“That’s why, just a fortnight ago, the NSW Business Chamber convened a roundtable discussion in Western Sydney to tackle this every issue.
“Attended by more than 30 representatives from an array of organisations including social services, academia, unions and business, the roundtable discussed ways of breaking down the barriers between those young people on the unemployed list and employers who have jobs to fill.
"Roundtable attendees agreed that successful employment programs tend to be bottom-up and delivered through local partnerships between employers, service providers and the community. We need government funding models that support these approaches. Transition to Work contracts should provide adequate flexibility to facilitate best practice and innovation.
Some of the key recommendations from the roundtable included:
- Introduce more flexible funding arrangements for youth labour market programs and youth transition initiatives that encourage local solutions, school/employer partnership arrangements and service delivery innovation rather than centrally determined and highly prescriptive funding rules;
- State and Territory governments should provide access to a specialist career advice and guidance service for all schools to ensure that all young people get professional advice at the time that they need it most; and
- State and Federal governments should support the development of effective online career development tools to assist people of all ages access relevant labour market information, planning tools, work preparation advice and career guidance.
“Tackling youth unemployment was a clear priority in the most recent Federal Budget and it’s good to see the Government backing up its talk with funding and real programs that address this critical issue,” Mr Cartwright said.